INAUGURAL ADDRESS 61'
who busied herself with domestic affairs and helped with the field-
work from which they derived their means of existence. This-
mistress had no educational ideas, no scholastic principles; she was
responsible to no authority,was criticized by no inspector of schools.
During the day-time, the children were abandoned by the father
and the mother, who both went out to look for a chance of
These conditions, which might seem to be most adverse to
the success of a school, represented as it were a void, a zero, as-
far as the arbitrary influence of education was concerned. Scien-
tific procedure in the school reached full efficiency because there
were no obstacles to oppose it.
This contributed to the success of an experiment which was
unmixed and isolated from other conceptions, carried on in a
laboratory of psychology, which was what the Children's House
It was here that there occurred surprising manifestations like
"the explosion of spontaneous writing and reading," "spon-
taneous discipline," "free social life," which have roused the
curiosity and the admiration of the world.
It was this very group of children, callous and half-wild, which
became a centre of interest so noted that from every part of the
world, and especially from the United States of America, there
came visitors as to a Mecca of education.
Because of this attraction the San Lorenzo Quarter was over-
run with sovereigns, ministers, scientists, aristocrats, all of them de-
sirous of seeing the wonderful children at close quarters. From that
centre Children's Houses have spread throughout the whole world.
After the first Children's House was opened on January 6th,
others were opened in other re-conditioned houses of the Bern
Stabili, a few months later, on April 7th; and on October 18th,
1908, under the direction of Miss Anna M. Maccheroni, there was
opened the Children's House in the Umanitaria of Milan, which
was the largest social institution in Italy, founded by Socialist Jews
for the elevation of the people. It was a centre composed of model